By Muhimbise George
Dear Gen Muhozi, receive my warm greetings and congratulations upon your 48th birthday.
The thousands of Ugandans that turned up for your birthday made a big statement and indeed they demonstrated their love for you!
From the actions of your promoters like Baram, Andrew Mwenda and others, which you have never publicly denied, it is evident that you harbor ambitions to lead Uganda and for avoidance of any doubt, it is a constitutional right which you are entitled to.
For that matter therefore, the thousands of people who came to Lugogo did not only come because they love you but also because of the hopes they have in you as their upcoming leader.
And indeed, many of us who have lived under one President were enthusiastic to hear what an aspiring leader brings on table, what ideas he brings for a country where 70% are below 30 years of age, and whose population is projected to grow to 100 million by 2050!
Although it was not an official campaign rally, the t-shirts, posters pinned all over, social media messages etc. clearly reflected a campaign launch.
To my disappointment, when you took the podium to speak and specifically about the youth and their interests, you said you know only two things about us; you said that the youth like sports and entertainment and reiterated the need to invest in sports facilities, stadiums, music & film because if not done, with their energy the youth can be dangerous.
Gen Muhoozi, I was honestly disappointed when I heard of this, because how could only those two define the youth? Is that the most productive way how the youth’s energy can be utilized?
For your information, youth is a transition, beyond 30 or 35 depending on a country, one ceases to be youth, so if we construct stadiums for the youths what happens when they cross that age bracket?
Even if sports were to be supported to create employment, how many jobs can sports create? World over sports employ 1.3 million people, that’s 0.01% of the world’s population, so what percentage of Ugandans would benefit from your policy proposal?
When you said youth like entertainment and having indeed brought people to entertain them, I wept for Uganda. I wondered where the unemployed youths will get money to pay for entertainment shows.
I saw someone out of touch with reality; who doesn’t know that according to UBOS (2020) 56% of Ugandans are under vulnerable employment and can hardly raise money to attend sports or entertainment events, a first son who claims to be passionate about sports but can’t advise his father to promote sports.
In your description of youth as people reduced to sports and entertainment, I saw a Zaire under Mobutu!
I wept not for myself but for the thousands of unemployed wretched of the earth who braved the sun to come to listen to their future leader, and well learned ministers who had come to pay loyalty to their next head of state, and I wept!
I wept to learn that you don’t know that youth need decent jobs, businesses opportunities, education and good health, minimum wage and social insurance in their old age.
I wept seeing a leader who describes youths by their physical rather than intellectual abilities, one who doesn’t appreciate that we are in an era of technology where we need to produce the likes of Mackzukesberg or Elon Mask of this world.
I wept for the Ugandan girls dying in slavery in the middle East, the soldiers you command living in mama ingia pole, the people who died in the bush liberating our country, the market vendors, boda bodas, hawkers, peasants, tax drivers, etc. whose views may never see light of the day under your presidency!
Gen Muhozi, although in Africa the gun may appear mightier than the ideas, and with it you may ascend to the throne and hang in there, and Ugandans are humble lambs who may accept your mighty rule, the gun can’t certainly address the problems I mentioned above, neither can sports and entertainment do.
Kindly may I beg that you tell us ideas that will transform our country under your rule, give us jobs so that we don’t move from Pearl of Africa to seek greener pastures from desert lands, may you tell us good ideas so that we too may join your bandwagon?
The author is a member of Alliance for National Transformation.